From the book lists at Adware Report:

All information current as of 00:47:02 Pacific Time, Sunday, 9 January 2005.

Anti-Spam Tool Kit

   by Paul Wolfe / Charlie Scott / Mike Erwin

    McGraw-Hill Osborne Media
    17 March, 2004


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Editorial description(s):
Long ago, unsolicited commercial email graduated from annoyance to serious problem. The problem won't go away until the nature of electronic mail changes (to include a per-message fee, for example), which means that there's lots of work for administrators in managing spam and keeping its load off their networks. That's what Anti-Spam Tool Kit is all about. With balanced coverage of networks making use of Microsoft Windows and those based on various forms of Unix, this book delivers the goods on blacklisting, filtering, and sorting strategies for reducing spam while minimizing the effect of anti-spam tools on legitimate electronic mail.

Unlike a lot of systems administration books with soft, filler-laden chapters, this one's all business. It combines survey data (that is, broad-based data that helps you compare alternative anti-spam solutions) with policy advice (how much old mail to archive, for example) and fairly detailed administrative instructions (such as how to automatically query databases of open mail relays). Most of the covered software appears on the companion CD-ROM, at least in demo form. You can get it all online, but this is a convenient package, and--taken together with the authors' well-written guidance--it'll help you do about all you can to minimize spam's effects on the servers you manage. --David Wall

Topics covered: How to cut down on unsolicited commercial email (UCE or spam) by using DNS blacklists, filters (mainly Bayesian classifiers), and the anti-spam features of various email clients (for Windows, Mac, and Linux). Particularly extensive coverage of SpamAssassin appears in this book.

From Book News, Inc.
Wolfe, an information security consultant, provides tools needed to build a spam-fighting e-mail system in this book/CD-ROM package. He shows how to build a spam control system across a broad range of solutions, from open source to proprietary and from basic client-based tools to complex gateway solutions. Examining the four major schools of thought for fighting spam and their specific tools, he covers filtering methods, blacklist services, gateway- and provider-based solutions, and Windows, Mac, and Linux/Unix spam filters. The CD-ROM contains anti-spam tools.Copyright © 2004 Book News, Inc., Portland, OR

From the Back Cover

Annihilate Spam for Good!

Get the tools you need to build a spam-fighting e-mail system and put fathead spammers on the run. This book provides the latest in spam-fighting techniques, including spam-squelching tools, anti-spam best practices, and the secrets about the Internet that the spammers don’t want you to know. With Anti-Spam Tool Kit, you’ll learn to build a spam control system across a broad range of solutions, from open source to proprietary, from basic client-based tools to complex gateway solutions, from simple spam control methods to a full-scale strategy for your war on spam.

Explains how to configure and use these and many other key tools:

CD-ROM contains popular anti-spam tools from the book

Paul Wolfe is an independent information security consultant for Fortune 500 companies, law enforcement, and government.

Charlie Scott, CISSP, CCNP, is an information security analyst for the city of Austin, Texas, where he helps maintain network security infrastructure and policies.

Mike W. Erwin, CISSP, is the President and Founder of Symbiot, Inc., an information security company specializing in intelligent security management and advanced risk metrics.

Book Description
Every year businesses spend billions of dollars combating the overwhelming amount of junk email their employees receive. With the Anti-Spam Toolkit, systems administrators have at their fingertips the tools they need to significantly reduce junk email. Through real-world software and examples, the authors demonstrate how to identify spam, deploy the best-suited anti-spam system for a business, keep legitimate email from being mistaken for spam, adapt and improve anti-spam systems, and stay one step ahead of spammers. They also cover the latest and most popular technologies available on the market for the proactive systems administrator. The CD-ROM includes all the tools discussed in the book.

Reader review(s):

Good description of state of art in 2003, July 8, 2004
The book was written around the end of 2003, and gives an excellent technical description of the main antispam techniques being used by ISPs, companies and individuals.

Bayesian techniques are heavily covered here, along with mention of several proprietary versions. The other main technique of note is Realtime Blacklists (RBLs).

But note that the above, and indeed other methods mentioned, suffer from the drawback of heavy manual intervention. For example, to periodically retrain a Bayesian on new sample sets of spam or nonspam. Or, when considering RBLs, having to manually judge whether a given domain is that of a spammer or not.

At the corporate or ISP level, this manual effort is expensive and ongoing. At the individual level, some, like Paul Graham, who suggested using Bayesians, are willing and able to take the time to retrain their Bayesians. But most users are not willing to continuously do this.

One portion of the book is already crucially outdated. In 2004, AOL, and possibly other ISPs, started applying an RBL against domains found inside the bodies of messages, and not just against domains from the headers. As far as I can tell on a reading of this book, whilst it describes various means of finding and applying RBLs, it does not mention the important idea of using them against body domains.

Actionable spam-fighting tips for users of all types, June 7, 2004
I've never been interested in viruses, worms, or spam. All three represent the lowest end of malware, with spam occupying a particularly disdainful place in the computer security hierarchy. I wasn't very excited when a review copy of "Anti-Spam Tool Kit" (ASTK) arrived in the mail, but I found myself drawn in by the value of the content and tools it described. I highly recommend anyone tasked with fighting spam read ASTK.

This book is the first to follow in the genre defined by "Anti-Hacker Tool Kit." While AHTK examined tools used by intruders and defenders, ASTK focuses on tools and techniques to counter unwanted email. AHTK has slightly more coverage of Windows than UNIX applications; ASTK spends more time on Windows, especially with client configurations. As a desktop FreeBSD user, I still found plenty of helpful information.

Since I'm not directly responsible for enterprise anti-spam defenses, ASTK's comparison of the many block lists was particularly enlightening. Prior to reading ch 5 I knew of many lists but not their particular capabilities. I found the coverage of SpamAssassin in chs 6-8 fairly thorough. Ch 14's overview of email and headers very helpful. I had not heard of server-based greylisting until reading ch 15.

I found a few of the authors' comments odd. On p. 250 they claim "most organizations do not run UNIX-based email solutions." I find this difficult to believe, but no proof for the statement is given. Figure 2.2 in ch 2 shows a mail sender using POP/POP-SSL/IMAP/IMAP-SSL to send email. At least using Mozilla and Firefox on UNIX, I connect to my ISP's SMTP server to send email and then retrieve it with POP or IMAP. In ch 3 the authors advocate IPv6 because it makes "a spammer's identity known and verified even if he or she doesn't want it to be." IPv6 should not change many, or any, spammer tactics. Spammers aren't forging TCP sessions with IPv4 now; they forge information (headers, etc.) transferred within application layer data. I believe some of these weird comments could have been addressed by more diligent technical editing.

Overall, I found ASTK enlightening and practical. The authors give enough details on various server- and client-side tools to make implementation (at least on a trial basis) possible. I look forward to other tool-related books in the "Anti-Hacker" series.

Great book to add to your arsenal against SPAM, April 5, 2004
I've been looking for a book that could really provide me with real life examples on how to stop SPAM at my company's corporate office. We've tried many software suites that have either been too aggressive, too passive, or too complicated to setup. This book compared many open sourced projects that save us a lot of money and time. The book is exactly what we needed. The authors are incredibly knowledgeable, have an easy-to-read writing style, and the examples are easy to follow.

It has the ring of experience., June 24, 2004
How do you stop SPAM? There are four main techniques: blacklist subscription,server-based, client-based, gateway-based. Each of these is completely covered, not only as a "do this" approach, but with an explanation of what each approach is trying to do. In addition, the CD included with the book, instead of having a bunch of mostly useless stuff, includes several anti-spam software packages that the authors have found useful in protecting their own organizations from SPAM. These are being distributed under the GNU license, so you are free to use them on your own system. Excellent book!

Excellent book, April 6, 2004
I'm about half way through it now, but it's already solved a couple of problems I've had with SpamAssassin. Book is packed with tools and resources. Kudos to the authors!

Death to SPAM!, April 19, 2004
This book goes a long way in sounding the eath nell against SPAM! I can't believe the coverage of tools and lots of opensource. Great job!

Excellent Client Coverage, April 7, 2004
This book provides so many spam clients, I'm not sure I've digeted all of it yet. I espesially like the coverage of the Windows clients espesially the open source ones. Well worth the price just for this information.

Practical Information and Advice To Help Tame Spam, November 8, 2004
There is no question that spam is a potential threat to the effectiveness of email as a form of communication and is at the very least an annoyance to anyone who uses email. To that end, a book like this contains valuable advice and information for virtually anyone. The detailed coverage of such a wide variety of tools and techniques- even covering tools for different operating systems and different levels of the network such as client and server- provides a comprehensive "tool kit" for the reader to employ in fighting spam.

The authors provide a sufficient amount of detail for the various tools for the reader to get a feel for their relative pros and cons and how to implement them. SpamAssassin is covered in much greater detail than many of the other products. Many of the tools and utilities covered in the book are included on the accompanying CDROM and are free so you can get right to work blocking spam as soon as you read the book.

There have been some changes in some email clients and the way ISP's handle spam as well as some legal challenges to the concept of RBL's (realtime blackhole lists) since this book came out, but with over 60% of all email being spam it is obvious that many people still need a resource like this.

Tony Bradley is a consultant and writer with a focus on network security, antivirus and incident response. He is the Guide for Internet / Network Security (, providing a broad range of information security tips, advice, reviews and information. Tony also contributes frequently to other industry publications. For a complete list of his freelance contributions you can visit Essential Computer Security (

ok book, May 3, 2004
The book was ok but it really didn't go into detail about blocking spam besides Spam Assassin. I could have really used more information about spam bouncer and razor. [email protected]

Good Overview, May 3, 2004
I think this is a pretty good overview oh how to prevent spam. I think the chapters on Spam Assassin were top notch. I am going to try out just how good the book is by leaving my email address to see just how well it works. [email protected]

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